The Supreme Court overturned a Pennsylvania man's death sentence on Monday on the ground that his lawyers' failure to search his record for evidence that could have persuaded the jury to spare his life fell below minimum constitutional standards for the effective assistance of counsel.
As a result of the 5-to-4 decision, Pennsylvania must now either give the defendant, Ronald Rompilla, a new capital sentencing hearing or sentence him to life in prison for the 1988 murder of the owner of a bar in Allentown, Pa.
The decision was the second in eight days in which the Supreme Court overturned a death sentence. Last Monday, in a case from Texas, the court overturned a 20-year-old murder conviction as well as the death sentence on the ground that the jury selection had been infected by racism.
The court also ruled in March that the Constitution barred capital punishment for those who committed crimes before the age of 18. In the new case, Rompilla v. Beard, No. 04-5462, as in the case last Monday, Miller-El v. Dretke, the justices accepted a death row inmate's appeal from a federal appeals court's denial of a writ of habeas corpus. The Supreme Court then proceeded itself to grant the writ, which is a judgment that a conviction or sentence was unconstitutional. Justice David H. Souter was the author of both opinions.
The above is from Linda Greenhouse's "Justices Overturn a Death Sentence, Citing an Inadequate Defense Counsel" in this morning's New York Times.
From the Times' obit on James Weinstein (Margalit Fox's "James Weinstein Dies at 78; Led a Progressive Journal"):
James Weinstein, the founder and longtime editor and publisher of the progressive magazine In These Times, died on Thursday at his home in Chicago. He was 78.
The cause was brain cancer, the magazine's editors announced.
Published twice a month, In These Times is concerned, in the words of its mission statement, with "informing and analyzing popular movements for social, environmental and economic justice." Mr. Weinstein founded the magazine in Chicago in 1976 and was its editor and publisher until he retired in 1999.
Originally trained as a historian, Mr. Weinstein also wrote several books about the progressive movement, most recently "The Long Detour: The History and Future of the American Left," published in 2003. Reviewing that work, Kirkus Reviews said he "demonstrates capably that socialist ideas have been a part of the American cultural and political landscape since the early days of the Republic, and have even flourished on occasion, particularly with the utopian communities of the early-19th and the labor activism of the early-20th centuries."
For the record, there's at least one factual error in the excerpt above. Anyone? I'll give the answer to Gina and Krista for their round-robin so that means you've got until Friday and you can e-mail your guess (or if you caught the obvious error, you're knowledge) to them. But we don't exist to spoonfeed the Times on their errors. Again, it's a factual error, it's not a matter of opinion. I'll even give Krista and Gina a scan that they can publish with the round-robin to back it up. (And remember, there are no fact checkers at the Times; it's farmed out to the editors.)
One and only one hint. If you think you know, you probably are thinking of something in the last few weeks. That's the only hint.
A lot of e-mails came in about the spoof headline yesterday. Here are some more (no, it won't be a regular thing but I'm feeling sick and it's an easy thing to build a post around if members enjoyed it and 308 -- check me math -- did).
Steven R. Weisman's story is butchered by a headline writer not paying attention and reads "Rice Urges Egyptians and Saudis to Democratize" when it should read "Rice Urges Egyptians and Saudis to Democratize Or Else!"
The heart of David E. Sanger's "Iraq Strategy Will Work, Bush Tells Europeans" is lost via bad headline writing. The original headline for the piece was "Iraq Strategy Will Work, Bush Tells Europeans, Europeans Respond With Belly Laughs!"
Philip Shenon's "Firm Says House Lawyers Approved Payments for Trips" covers Tom DeLay more than it should due to faulty headline writing. The headline, as it should have read, "Firm Says House Lawyers Approved Payments for Trips, DeLay Argues The Mother-May-I Defense."
Lastly, though she has no "White House Letter" in today's paper, Elisabeth Bumiller's has been treated most cruelly of all by headline writers. Her floating op-ed is supposed to read "From the Desk of Nan Britton: White House Love Letter."
Trevor congratulated on yesterday's post saying it was "funny and original." Hopefully, it made you smile (Biden) if not laugh. But it's not original. I'm thinking I saw many years ago in Ms. --though I may be remembering wrong and it might have been another magazine. Regardless, I didn't originate the idea.
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